Portland loves all things artisan, from bread and chocolate to ice cream and doughnuts. The city promotes and patronizes many specialty items and shops.
So, it probably shouldn’t come as too much of a shock that a trio of experienced entrepreneurs and wine enthusiasts have formed a new venture – Blossom Bros – and just in time for summer sipping, released the artisan wine spritzer.
Blossom Bros spritzers are made from just four ingredients: wine, natural botanical essences, water and CO2. There’s no added sugar, sweeteners or artificial flavors, just bubbles to enhance the flavor. The beverages contain 6 percent alcohol, roughly half of that of traditional wine, have only 12 grams of sugar and are gluten-free.
“We feel like we’re introducing the artisan spritzer category, which will appeal to those who are new to wine and wine geeks, because we start with really good quality wine,” says Blossom Bros President Shawn Bavaresco, who leads product innovation. “I kind of liken it to being in college in the mid-80s, when I discovered Sierra Nevada. I was like, ‘Holy crap. This is really good.’ I would genuinely like to think that’s what we’re creating for the wine industry.
Bavaresco, who co-founded Pacific Rim Winery and directed Nike U.S. advertising, is joined by fellow “bros” Cameron Healy, the founder of premium craft favorites like Kettle Brand potato chips and Kona Brewing and Marc Cramer, who serves on the board of Craft Brew Alliance and has held leadership posts for several CPG brands.
The idea for Blossom Bros sprang from a symposium they took part in, and then monthly dinners. They shared a passion for food, wine and entrepreneurship and decided to create a new product based on premium wine.
Inspired by the 9,000-year history of infusing wine with fruit, root and flower essences, Blossom Bros aims to bring innovation to the single-serve wine category, one they say is ripe for reinvention and growth. In the past year, they have mixed and taste-tested hundreds of flavors and infusions, from white peach to rosemary.
“What was easy about the process is that, if it didn’t work, you knew immediately,” Bavaresco says. “It was disgusting. But when it worked, it was absolutely delicious.”
The first three flavors making their debut on draft at restaurants and bars and at retail establishments in glass bottle four-packs are: White Peach and Jasmine Flower, Blood Orange and Ginger Root, and Pink Grapefruit and Honeycomb.
The product is still in its very early stages of rollout, but Kyle Stone-Chilla from McMenamins 23rd Avenue Bottle Shop in Northwest Portland has begun to stock the line.
“I brought them in because I thought they were really tasty,” he says. “It’s a great alternative for the beer enthusiast, and it’s a pretty cool product that is sweet, but not too sweet. Who knows? As other people try them, if they like them, we’ll stock them in more places.”